They say Goonies never say die and neither do transfer rumors. We've seen it for years, if not decades, once a certain name gets attached to Roma in the rumor cycle, the story never really dies until the player leaves Europe or the game altogether. Whether it was Lukas Podoloski and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar back in the day or Hakim Ziyech in recent years, certain names never seem to leave the Roma orbit, and it appears as though we can add two new satellites to that list: Dejan Lovren and Daniele Rugani.
Once Gianluca Petrachi wrapped up the bulk of his business in late July and early August, he still had one final bit of shopping to do, finding a center back to compete with Federico Fazio, Juan Jesus and the newcomer, Gianluca Mancini. Almost instantly the two names perched on everyone's lips were Liverpool's solid but not spectacular Dejan Lovren and Juventus’ would be world beater Daniele Rugani.
For a variety of reasons, neither man has yet been chosen to ride the lightning in Roma: Year Zero, but that doesn't mean the rumors are dead and buried, far from it. After witnessing Roma's defensive deficiencies yesterday, it didn't take long for the Italian media to dredge up those familiar names.
Nicolo Schira of La Gazzetta dello Sport chimed in first:
L’agente di Daniele #Rugani (D.Torchia) è a #Roma: nelle prossime ore vedrà Petrachi per discutere del possibile passaggio in giallorosso. Il centrale chiede quinquennale da 3 milioni a stagione. Continuano i contatti intanto con la #Juventus per trovare la quadra (Riccardi ecc)— Nicolò Schira (@NicoSchira) August 26, 2019
According to Schira, things between Roma and Juventus have picked up quite a bit since yesterday's debacle against Genoa, to the point where Rugani's agent is in the Eternal City, presumably discussing potential personal terms for his client and the Giallorossi. Rugani is rumored to be angling for a Petrachi Special, a €3 million net salary, though the clubs are still believed to be some distance from a deal.
Schira's colleague, Sky Sports’ Gianluca Di Marzio, basically confirmed the meeting between Rugani's agent and the Roma brass while briefly throwing Lovren's name back into the mix:
La @juventusfc preferisce vendere #Rugani, la @OfficialASRoma continua a valutare tra lui e #Lovren. Domani nuovi contatti tra le parti. Se la @OfficialASRoma non chiude per #Rugani, il @acmilan può davvero sperare di concretizzare l’assalto (mai sfumato del tutto) per #Demiral— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) August 26, 2019
Di Marzio did hint at the interesting wrinkle thrown out earlier today, that Juventus are somehow already willing to part with Merih Demiral after just signing him for €18 million this summer, never mind the fact that they'd have to fork over a portion of his sale price to Sassuolo. I suspect this is merely a thinly veiled negotiating tactic meant to increase Roma's sense of urgency and thereby acquiesce to Juve's demand for Rugani. Not buying it one iota.
What is for certain, however, is that the next week or so figures to be jam packed with Rugani and Lovren rumors, especially considering the rift between Roma and Torino, who may have otherwise been willing to part with Nicolas Nkoulou or Armando Izzo, but Roma took the drastic step of publishing a statement on the official site today proclaiming they have no interest in any Torino player. Like, not even as just a friend.
It's going to be an annoying week. It's going to be an exciting week, and hopefully Roma will wrap it up with a new central defender of some sort, be it Rugani, Lovren or the absurd notion that Mehdi Benatia will return.